Program Details

By the end of the program, students will be well versed in species adaptation, climate change concerns and efforts being made to conserve modern day Alaska.
Location:
Anchorage, United States
Program Type:
Study Abroad
Degree Level:
Undergraduate
Term:
Academic Year, Summer

Program Overview

Program Description:

Join us as we explore the fundamental aspects of species adaptation and undeniable climate change in one of America’s last frontiers – Alaska. Renowned for its wondrous mountains, extensive wildlife and resilient Native peoples, Alaska provides the perfect opportunity to collectively study geography, geology, climatology, habitat specialization, wildlife management, and environmental conservation. We will travel from mountain to coast, and back again, to gain insight on Alaska’s diverse ecosystems, the species they support, and the challenges each face.

Our program will start with a focus on the geography and climate of Alaska, providing students with a strong knowledge of the local natural history. We will visit national parks on the Kenai Peninsula, one of the premier spots to study marine mammals and glacial ecology. Visited by thousands of people each year, we will delve into the impact of Alaska’s growing tourism on local wildlife, specifically evaluating how ecotourism effects marine life and conservation policy. By exploring both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, team members will learn about habitat specialization and species adaptation.

Next, we will turn our field studies east to the largest national park in the US, Wrangell-St. Elias. Here we will learn how species interact on a community level. Undertaking a multi-day backcountry field study, students will gain an understanding of how larger mammals have managed to survive in Alaska and potential threats to this amazing wilderness area. As we travel throughout the southeastern portion of the state, we will continue our exploration on the impacts of climate change on Alaskan ecosystems and wildlife communities. We will examine the consequences of rising temperatures, glacial melt, and sea level change, and how these impact species migration, forest carbon dynamics and relocation of Native peoples. As a team, and through interactions with local experts, we will learn about current mitigation strategies and how we might contribute to local efforts.

Throughout this program, students will have the opportunity to work with local scientists and conservation organizations to gain a deeper understanding of scientific practices and ecological field sampling techniques. We will also engage with local community groups enabling students to learn about the Native Alaskan culture and way of life. By the end of the program, students will be well versed in species adaptation, climate change concerns and efforts being made to conserve modern day Alaska.

Setting Description:
Camping, backpacking, research stations
Cost:
$5500 USD.

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